Erin Healy has forged a writing career for herself, following on from a successful editing career. Her latest novel, The Baker’s Wife, is now available from Thomas Nelson.
Brief physical description
Audrey is a healthy woman in her early forties with a refreshing lack of self-consciousness. She has short, wind-tossed blond hair and wrinkles that testify to her easy ability to laugh and her love for the California sun. Her natural beauty is largely a reflection of her husband’s adoration.
Here’s the picture of Audrey and her husband Geoff that I used while writing:
It’s a stock photo—no idea who these handsome people really are. I’d be tempted to cast Meg Ryan (with short hair) as Audrey.
Strengths and weaknesses
Audrey has a huge capacity to care for other people, even when she is in pain. She is generous and thoughtful and never short of strength to be compassionate. She doesn’t always know how far to go when her kindness is rejected, and she sometimes lacks the courage to enter uncomfortable situations—which leads to a painful situation for her family.
Quirk (if any)
Audrey’s empathy for other people is a kind of supernatural hyper-empathy. She feels the pain of certain other people in a visceral, tangible way—she manifests their symptoms and hurts the way they hurt. A terrifying “gift” to possess, in my opinion.
Your inspiration for the character
My own weakness. I am so often buried in my own issues that I selfishly neglect the needs of others, loved ones as well as people I don’t necessarily like. I wrote Audrey to challenge myself to something greater than my usual way of walking through life, and to examine what I might be risking if I don’t aspire to something better.
Background to the story
The Baker’s Wife was originally titled Fog Lights. I started with fog as a metaphor for life’s troubles and lights as a symbol for the people who pull us through it. I picked the setting, California’s Great Central Valley, because it’s one of the foggiest locations in the United States, with a particularly deadly type of blinding fog. And then there was an image of a bakery in the predawn hours, its warm lights bright on a dark and foggy street, welcoming lost and cold souls. Also at work in my mind was a passage from the Bible: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). All these factors came together: characters living in a dim place, each of them suffering their own unique brand of pain, each of them choosing a different path through the fog.
Thanks for sharing, Erin